The teenage ‘new Lewis Hamilton’ sensation on Mercedes books

“We will watch Andrea Kimi Antonelli rise to F1 and win races,” that’s what Toto Wolff said about Mercedes’ Italian teenage sensation in 2021.
The teenage ‘new Lewis Hamilton’ sensation on Mercedes books

Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s rise through the junior ranks has been nothing short of impressive, racking up title after title.

While it’s unlikely we will see him F1 until at least 2026 at the earliest, with Antonelli set to compete in the Formula Regional European Championship (FRECA) in 2023, rather than FIA Formula 3.

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F3 for 2024 then a move to F2 in 2025 seems realistic for Mercedes’ prodigy, with there little sign of him being fast tracked in similar fashion to Max Verstappen in 2015.

Antonelli is motorsport’s hottest talent outside of the pinnacle. 

Could he be Italy’s first F1 world champion since Alberto Ascari in 1953?

Italy’s driver talent has dried up in recent years, with Antonio Giovinazzi underwhelming during his three-year stint with Alfa Romeo.

Giancarlo Fisichella was the last Italian to win a grand prix in 2006, with the former Renault and Ferrari driver capable of winning races in the right car, like fellow countrymen Jarno Trulli, they didn’t quite have that world champion-like cutting edge. 

With Antonelli destined for greatness, how has he fared so far?

The teenage ‘new Lewis Hamilton’ sensation on Mercedes books

Antonelli has been racing competitively since 2014, making his karting debut at just seven years old.

His string of title successes -  WSK Champions Cup, WSK Super Master Series, WSK Euro Series - culminated in Antonelli attracting the attention of Mercedes and Wolff, signing him to their driver academy in 2019.

The head of Mercedes driver academy - Gwen Lagrue - described Antonelli as a phenomenon, and there’s no doubt his track record backs up that point.

In 2020, he stepped up to the OK karting class, taking the FIA Karting European Championship and WSK Euro Series class.

More success in karting in 2021 led to his single-seater debut with Prema in Italian F4.

Despite joining the championship mid-season, Antonelli quickly showcased his talents at just 15 years old, finishing on the podium in each of the final three races.

So it was no surprise to see him destroy the field in Italian F4 last year, winning 13 of the 20 races, with 14 pole positions and 15 podiums.

He combined this with a dominant ADAC F4 Championship campaign, taking the title there.

The teenage ‘new Lewis Hamilton’ sensation on Mercedes books

It’s still early days, but his good relationship with Wolff will give him every opportunity to make into F1, as seen with George Russell, Esteban Ocon or even Valtteri Bottas, who the German used to manage.

“I have a wonderful relationship with Mercedes and I also speak often with Toto and I always update him on my weekends and how they are going,” Antonelli revealed in an interview with

“I have a good relationship with him but also with the Mercedes Academy: they always follow me. I must say that I am very happy to be with them because they are helping me a lot and I know that with them I will be able to go a long way”. 

Antonelli is a star of the future.

There’s certainly no guarantee of making it into F1, let alone winning races or becoming a world champion, but all the signs are pointing towards it.

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